Myanmar loosens grip on oil sector, gives foreign firms full rights
YANGON (AFP) - Foreign firms will be granted full rights to Myanmar's deepwater oil blocks, the energy ministry said on Tuesday, a first in a lucrative sector once closely-controlled by the former junta.
Around 25 new offshore blocks will be opened for tender in April with oil majors such as BP, Woodside, Shell and Chevron "ready" to compete for them, Aung Kyaw Htoo, assistant director of the Ministry of Energy, told AFP.
Myanmar's oil and gas industry, which analysts say accounts for some 34 per cent of total exports, is seen as the engine of the nation's growth as it emerges from decades of authoritarian army rule.
In January, Myanmar opened up a major portion of its onshore oil blocks for bids, attracting the fevered interest of Western firms who have been desperate to enter the energy sector after the end of sanctions against the once-pariah state.